Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekly Worded

Editorial cartoon from Baltimiore American, April 23, 1910 
following Mark Twain's death featuring a grieving Uncle Sam.

 Don’t Blame Halley’s Comet

“Do you know how Mark Twain died?”
“He stopped breathing, I suppose.”
“Well yeah, I mean of course, but of what ailment?”
“I heard he lost his sense of humor.”
“A lethal dose of seriousness?  Be serious.”
“I joke not.  A hardening of the articles.”
“That’s awful!”
“Just read his later writing, he turned cynical.”
“He lost his innocence, that’s all.”
“No, he lost his fortune, his faith in humanity, his loved ones, and finally his will to live.”
“I still say a person can’t die from forgetting how to laugh.”
“He never forgot.”
“Then what happened to his humor?”
“He turned it on himself.”
“Suicide by cynicism?”
“I know, it’s a funny way to go.”

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weekly Worded

The Neighbor’s Porcelain Dogs

Moving between windows like a sentry,
the cat alerted me to their presence. 
I stepped outside.  Two dogs approached
from behind the barn, a chihuahua
and a miniature dachshund, companions
by the way they stopped short
on spotting me, glanced at each other
then back to me.  As a dog owner
I’d have commanded, “Stay”
or crouched in that universal way
humans signal their willingness
to rub a belly, but since my cat
has nothing to do with dogs
I felt obliged to shoo them away.  
“Go home!” I shouted, my finger
rigid as a lightning bolt. 
They startled, backed up in unison,
which is when I first noticed
each dog was missing a leg. 
How boorish to watch them run.
Before leaving the property
one turned, yipping at me.
That sound, like a teacup cracking. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Flash Mob 2013 *

Cautious Attraction

“Is that a canker sore on your lip?”
“No, it’s a wart.  Why do you ask?”
“No reason.”
“There has to be a reason.  Normally people look away.”
“Just wondering, that’s all.”
“Were you thinking about kissing me?”
“Kissing you?  Don’t be ridiculous!”
“You’re probably worried about STDs.”
“I was not worried about anything, I was concerned.  It must hurt.”
“Canker sores are not contagious.”
“I didn’t know that, but I really don’t care.”
“It’s the warts that can be transferred to other people.”
“You are a font of information about contagious conditions.”
“I thought it gave me a sensuous lip.”
“You ought to get it taken care of.”
“Actually, it’s just a canker sore.  Eventually it’ll go away.”
“Then why did you tell me it was a wart?”
“I wanted you to think I was a prince.”
“That’s the worst come-on line I’ve ever heard.”
“So kissing is out of the question?”
“Kissing was never a part of the question.”
“A handshake?”
“That’s my Parkinson’s.”


Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekly Worded

    In the Dark

The question remains
even after the birds have gone
softly to their nests,

will the old songs
still bring the sunrise?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly Worded


Just before she died, my mother’s feet
turned blue, a blue that meant her blood refused
to travel the length of her body.

Not the blue of pure starlight
arriving ten million years after its birth
nor the blue of oceans swelling with storm.

Just blue,
the shade that comes with a bruise.
I want to believe the tumor forced her

not to pay attention, that it replaced the part 
her brain destroyed, actually invented memories
to run like old films on a tiny screen,

so she had to watch very carefully, the projector
flickering in time with her heart, the theater
filled with blue light.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekly Worded

    Suite Country


Trenching an irrigation line
with a shovel, I glanced up to find
most of the neighbor’s herd
crowding our fencerow.
The handle shaping a post
to lean against, I caught my breath,
lifted my cap, wiped sweat.
It was early afternoon. 
Cows at rest between meals,
nothing for them but this tableau,
man with tool, unearthing appetite.


Moonlight blasts the bedspread white 
while I sleep.  It must be a dream,
packing the sheet like fresh snow
around every muscle that aches. 
Frogs in the bar ditch throbbing.


All night the spade
left sunk to its hilt
in good earth,

handle sticking up
like a microphone boom
on an empty stage.